Ever the unpleasant reality, murders are a real world thing that most people pretend don’t exist until they are reminded of them. And it’s the normal thing to do – why would you think about people being murdered unless you heard of a case? And as we all know, some places are more murder-friendly than others.
Depending on where you live, you have a different chance of being murdered – you’re more likely to find yourself bleeding out in dark alley in bad neighborhood than you are to suffer the same fate in classier or at least better maintained places. And teens have the same problem. A recent study led by Dr. Alison Culyba from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows that improving neighborhoods might lower teen murder rates.
Murders are at a very high rate in our country, and youths are especially vulnerable in these times. 2013 saw a whopping 2000 youths aged 13 to 20 murdered in the United States. Most of these murders take place in cities, particularly in the poorer areas or neighborhoods.
Some of the places that saw the least amount of teenage murders are places that had parks, public transportation, street lighting, and cleaned up vacant lots. Predictably, factors like abandoned buildings and vacant lots are responsible for a higher number of murders, particularly in the bad part of towns.
Murdered and not murdered
In order to figure out the differences that would need making so as to keep more young people from being murdered, a team of researchers looked at the circumstances of 143 murder victims with the average age of 18 and at those of 155 teens that weren’t murdered while walking the streets.
By taking 360 degree panoramic images of neighborhoods from street corners where murders took place, and then from street corners where murders didn’t take place at the same time of day, the team discovered somewhere around 60 common factors that seemed to be common for the murdered teens.
Changes in environment
A few of the factors that seemed to decrease the chances of a teen being murdered there were walk/don’t walk signs, street lighting, parks, well maintained parking lots, etc. Meanwhile, houses with gratings or security bars, plantings, private bushes, and lacking stop signs seemed to be a precursor to murders.
The team advises state and city officials to attempt making some changes if they want to decrease the number of teens killed in their cities. Of course, they would have to commit to it, not start a project and then abandon it, as that would make the area even more dangerous.
Equally important to what the neighborhood is like is how the residents actually view it. It would be pointless to just change the neighborhood without changing the people’s view of it. That is the most important part – how the residents view their neighborhood.
Image source: Wikimedia